LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - A free lunch and kind words were given to first responders all over southwest Oklahoma at Cameron Baptist Church on Friday.
The church has been hosting this lunch for three years around the anniversary of the September 11th attacks, as a way to say thank you for what they do all year. Lunch was catered and the desserts were homemade from the church members. They even showed their appreciation earlier this week, by dropping off snacks to hospitals, police and fire departments.
Probationary police officer Christopher Puetz says it's something he saw before he became an officer. But to see it after joining the force, it brings new meaning to the community's support.
"Oh, it's an amazing feeling," said Puetz. "You know, it's really reassuring coming to a career like this, and seeing that the community really supports us and what we do. We go out there every day we give our lives, we put it on the line. And the community really appreciates us for that. It's a wonderful feeling."
Puetz is one of the many first responders dropping in and out of the lunch Friday.
Cameron Baptist Church pastor Mike Teel says he has family members who are first responders, and he understands how much they sacrifice.
"We've already seen guys who have come in today, fire trucks have come in today that have been called out, had to leave their meals in the middle of the meals so we understand of that," said Teel.
For Puetz, he says for the church hosting the lunch, even though it was his first time, he was treated just like every other officer, with respect.
They don't see me as a rookie, they see me as a Lawton police officer," said Puetz "They respect me, and respect what I do. They really appreciate us all."
They also had a prayer lead by Pastor Teel. They prayed for the first responders' protection as they do their important jobs through the year.
He also said they had so many people want to volunteer for this event, they had to turn some away. But he says they successfully served nearly 200 first responders